For all the equality legislation, rhetoric and good intentions, the so-called "mommy-track" – the career-damaging penalty many women face after having children – is still a very real phenomenon across Europe and the USA.
Now, in an effort to increase the numbers of women staying with the firm after they have children, the UK arm of accountancy giant Ernst & Young has announced a new maternity coaching scheme for women which, they say, will help women make an informed decision about how and when they return to work.
The scheme, which has been taken up by almost 250 women since it was lanched five months ago, offers four coaching sessions, which take place before, during and after their maternity leave.
The sessions cover areas such as managing relationships with clients and colleagues, exploring alternative work patterns, and re-integrating into the workplace.
The line managers of women due to go on maternity leave also attend sessions about how to provide the right level of contact and support.
Liz Bingham, partner sponsor of the programme at the firm, said: "Gender diversity isn't just an issue in the boardroom. It's vital that organisations create talent pipelines to ensure that high-potential women are being developed at every level through their careers.
"Initiatives like our new maternity scheme are designed to remove any perceived or real blockages in the pipeline. We want to ensure that all our people, at every stage of their personal and professional lives are supported and are able to make informed choices about their career development."
Interestingly, she added that Ernst & Young now has led to plans to extend the scheme to new fathers.